A Month of Thankful: I’m Thankful for Marvelous Neighbors, Erin at Southwest Airlines and Airport WiFi

My alarm went off at 4:00 a.m. I think it safe to say that most mornings, I would not bounce out of bed at that hour.  I wouldn’t be out of bed at that hour at all.  Period.  But, this particular morning, I rose willingly (if not eagerly), because I was catching a plane back to Connecticut to see the family – which has gotten bigger by +1 in the last couple of weeks.

I got your friendly skies right here.

Harold may have had a purple crayon, but I’ve got a mouse pad and Sketchbook.

Was.

Catching.

As in, past tense.  And yet, I write this from a location only a few feet above sea level.

The morning started out well enough.  My awesome neighbor works not far from the airport, so he offered to give me a lift on his way into work.  How awesome is that, right?  Who can say she lives next door to someone who will chauffeur her around at 4:30 a.m.?  I wheeled my carefully packed, weighed, zipped and TSA-approved suitcase down the driveway, hopped in the car and enjoyed a relatively traffic-free ride into San Francisco.  From there, I caught a train from downtown to the airport.  It cost me a whopping $8 instead of $200 for parking or $75 for a shuttle.  Sweet.

While I was on the train, I double-checked the status of my flight.  On time.  I can almost taste a Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and a Munchkin (or 12).

I got to the airport just as the terminal shuttle pulled up.  When I rolled up to the Southwest counter, there was no one in line.  I glimpsed the security line on my way through the terminal, and that looked like an expressway, too.  It was 6:05 a.m., leaving me enough time to check in, get through security, grab some coffee and maybe even answer a few emails before takeoff.

Of course, in retrospect, the emptiness of the airport might’ve been a clue.  But, I try to think positively before I fly so as not to cause flight attendants to hand me brown paper bags while kindly imploring me to please release my grip on the nice passenger unfortunate enough to be seated next to me.

Hold me.

In my happy oblivion, I entered my reservation number on the check-in touchscreen just as my phone buzzed at me.  When, the check-in screen kept insisting it couldn’t find my reservation, I looked down at my cell phone as one might look at a puppy that just peed on the carpet.

I slide the bar over and opened a this:

Sad panda 😦

Me no go bye-bye.  I tried to rebook my flight using the link in the text message that I’ve cleverly blocked from your view.  That was an exercise in futility, because the link doesn’t work.  So, I called Southwest and spoke to the polite, witty and way-too-awake-at-this-hour-of-the-morning, Erin.  She helped me book my flight for tomorrow, and we made a pact to get Mother Nature’s anger management issue under control.  We women need to stick together.  (Also, Erin, you sounded genuinely grateful that I was polite to you, which leads me to believe you spend a lot of your time at work talking to people named Grumpus McRumpus.  I’m sorry about that.  I doubt it’s fun, and you seem like a super nice lady, so you should have all the fun – at work, even.  Just know that karma pigeons are everywhere, and whoever yelled at you this morning probably just had his car washed, okay?)

So, here I sit in the airport, going nowhere.  I’m killing time until I can catch a train back home that will get in after the kids are already at school so that my husband can pick me up from the train station.  At least there’s coffee here and, of course, free wi-fi — the gift that lets me share all this morning glory you, my awesome readers.  Also, isn’t airport-people-watching the best? For all this, I am thankful.

A Month of Thankful: I Am Thankful for the #Right to #Vote

My grandmother (my mother’s mother) was born on November 16, 1909.  She was born about 39 years after the ratification of the 15th Amendment to the United States Constitution, guaranteeing the right of black men to vote.  It wasn’t until she was nearly 11 years old that women earned the constitutional right to vote with the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

GO VOTE!

I think a great many people do not know how women succeeded in gaining the right to vote.  The path to enfranchise women was wound at times inextricably yet painfully at odds with the path black men traveled for the same right.  The demand for the right to vote began with women adopting the platform that all men and women are created equal.  In the end, however, what won the day was women adopting the arguments against women voting — that a “true” woman concerned herself only with home, husband and children not politics — into arguments for women voting — “true” women would bring a “pure” voice to the political landscape by injecting it with the morality it needed.  It is a painful (and perhaps shameful) truth of the United States’ past that women were allowed universal suffrage because people of influence believed that women’s votes would ensure temperance, white supremacy and religious order.  World War I and the need to move women out of the home and into the labor force ultimately sealed the proverbial deal by convincing the last of the holdout states that women were “just as patriotic” and “deserving of citizenship” as men. (See, here.)

There were states that acted on their own.  Wyoming was the first state to grant women the right to vote and the first to elect a female governor (in 1876, no less).  Utah and Idaho were among other states that granted women the right to vote in the early years.  But, it took the rest of the country nearly fifty years to follow suit.

It’s amazing in some ways to think that 1920 was less than 100 years ago.  It’s amazing to think that my grandmother lived — LIVED — in an era when her mother could not vote.  So today, as I cast my ballot, I will send silent and heartfelt thanks to those who made voting possible for my grandmother and mother before me, for me today and for my daughter someday all too soon.

A Month of Thankful: I’m Thankful My Kid Got Math Smarts

Okay, so, I had my pumped-up kicks all ready to blog every day this month in celebration of my favorite month and holiday of the year.  I mean, really, what’s not to love about November?  It smells of fireplaces burning away the scent of summer, its leaves explode into fireworks of color and fall like ticker-tape, its early mornings leave a damp chill on the pavement, hinting at the scent of snow, and everyone’s houses ooze cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkins and apples.  (Not literally, though.  Unless you’re making Gingerbread’s house.  Otherwise, stay away from oozing of any kind.  Bad.)

Also, I get to bust out my favorite accessory ever – a scarf.  (When you have small children, accessories that are machine washable are a very big plus.)

Wait.  wait.  I’m getting sidetracked here.  We’ve got a WHOLE month to talk about this stuff.  Okay.  Not a whole month.  But, most of it.  (I wouldn’t really have been true to myself if I’d started on time, anyway.)

Today …

Today, on my first day of Thankful, I am thankful that my son, Nate, against all laws of probability and genetics,  got a math brain.

math brain

No, that’s NOT a bowl of dog food.  Yes, it might’ve been clearer had a I drawn his body.  Be grateful I don’t teach art, okay!?

I do not have a math brain.  My brain is stuffed full of words and punctuation, rules and laws and code sections and case names, useless trivia about the 1980s and passwords that have at least one capital letter, one symbol and one number but won’t mean anything to anyone ever.  I also know the answers to important questions, like:  What’s your mother’s maiden name?  What’s your father’s middle name?  What was the make and model of your first car?  Who was your favorite elementary school teacher?  What is the middle initial of your first husband’s aunt’s cousin’s sister’s daughter-in-law?

That’s a lot of shit for one brain, yo, especially one that’s getting as old as mine.  I think I get a new gray hair every time I have to change or create a password for something.

The point is, don’t ask me to “finish the pattern in this set” unless you’re talking about china.  Don’t ask me about angles unless you’re taking a photograph.  And don’t, for the love of all that is holy and $5 pitchers of beer at Happy Hour, ask me about calculus unless you want to talk about Stand and Deliver.  (It was a great movie, right?  I still freak out every time Kemo has the heart attack in the hallway …)

But, Nate is an altogether different story.  It baffles me.  It truly does.  How did this kid come from ME?  If you ask Nate to write an essay about his opinion on something, he practically pops a blood vessel.  The straining and the struggle is painful to watch.  But, oh, give him a math or logic problem, and he becomes Mr. Wizard.

I was reminded of this today, when Nate humbled me in my own kitchen.  The only thing that got cooked were my brains – fried, extra crispy.  Why?  Because Nate gave me three “easy” logic problems to solve.  I failed.  F – A – I – L – E – D.  Big fat F.  So, I am thankful that my brilliant son showed me how to solve these equations. Otherwise, I’d look like this:

Aaaaaaaaaaaah!

Do you have any idea how hard it is to draw freehand with a touchpad mouse? My pointer fingers are shaking from the exhaustion.

EQUATION 1

5 + 5 + 5 = 550

Using one line and only one line, make this equation into a true statement.  You may not draw a line through the equals symbol (≠) to solve this problem.

EQUATION 2

Using the same number three times, create an equation that adds up to 60.  For example, 20+20+20=60.

You must use whole numbers.  You can only add.

EQUATION 3

Using the following numbers and operators:

2  3  4  5  +  =

create an equation that resolves true.  You cannot use any other numbers or symbols than those above, but you can use them in any order you wish.

EQUATION 4

Connect ALL of the dots in the pattern below using only 4 lines and never allowing your pen to leave the paper. (Every time your line turns, you start a new line.)

.     .     .

.     .     .

.     .     .

Good luck, class.  I will post the answers soon.  Don’t try to show off in the comments.  If you don’t let everyone else struggle until someone standing nearby asks, “What’s burning?” you ruin it for the rest of us.  Until next time, be thankful my friends.